“No perfect system” to issue £150 rebate cheques, says Rotherham councillor

A Rotherham councillor has told a meeting that there is “no perfect system” to issue rebates, after widely publicised images showed residents queuing up at pawnbrokers to cash in their £150 energy rebate cheques.

Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 11:38 am
Updated Thursday, 16th June 2022, 10:15 am

Pictures of residents queuing outside pawnbrokers in Rotherham town centre were widely publicised last week, as residents could not afford to wait for the money if there were delays cashing in their cheques at banks.

Councillor Taiba Yasseen praised the way the scheme had been rolled out, and thanked officers for their work.

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Pictures of residents queuing outside pawnbrokers in Rotherham town centre were widely publicised last week, as residents could not afford to wait for the money if there were delays cashing in their cheques at banks.

“The council handled it he best way it could,” Coun Yasseen told the meeting of RMBC’s overview and scrutiny committee today 9June 15).

“I feel overwhelmingly that people should have a choice where to spend money.

“My personal view is that I think it was handled really well, and also the fact that the speed that we got those checks out there and compared to what’s happening in other towns, there seems to be no perfect system to do this.

” I just want to thank the team for for that work – I can imagine it’d be a lot to work to get that right, and a huge responsibility.”

However, Coun Adam Carter disagreed, and told the meeting: “Perhaps we should have told people that they can come to the council and ask for it in cash – I feel like that’s led to a disappointment.

“I feel like as a council we let those residents down by sending a letter in such a format but made it such that many residents felt they have no choice but to go to places like pawnbrokers.”

Coun Wendy Cooksey asked how far it had been publicised that residents could arrange cash payments via appointment with the council.

Rob Mahon, head of corporate finance at RMBC told the meeting that the cheques included information regarding the payments, adding that alternatively, residents could contact he council for further information.

“People would contact the council to notify us…and we’d make those arrangements.

“That’s taking place at the minute and communicated on the council’s website, and we’ve arranged the first batch of payments.

“A small number of people have come forward requesting a cash payment.

“At the minute, we’re still seeing a sizeable chunk of cheques being cashed.”